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Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee - Missile Defense and the FY2005 DOD Budget

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Federal News Service

HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE

SUBJECT: MISSILE DEFENSE AND THE FY2005 DOD BUDGET

CHAIRED BY: SENATOR JOHN WARNER (R-VA)

LOCATION: 325 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.

WITNESSES: MICHAEL WYNNE, ACTING UNDER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR ACQUISITION, TECHNOLOGY AND LOGISTICS; ADMIRAL JAMES O. ELLIS, JR., USN, COMMANDER, U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND; THOMAS P. CHRISTIE, DIRECTOR, OPERATIONAL TEST AND EVALUATION; LIEUTENANT GENERAL RONALD T. KADISH, USAF, DIRECTOR, MISSILE DEFENSE AGENCY; LIEUTENANT GENERAL LARRY J. DODGEN, USA, COMMANDER, SPACE AND MISSILE DEFENSE COMMAND

BODY:
SEN. MARK PRYOR (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Secretary Wynne, as the Pentagon's acquisition executive, you oversee both the Army Missile Defense Programs and those of the Missile Defense Agency. I've got a question regarding our budget priorities. In your budget request for FY '05, you have requested a very large amount of funding for missile defense, about $10.2 billion. That's more than a billion dollars over last year. Yet, despite the increase in overall missile defense funding, funding for the Patriot PAC-3, as I understand the only operational missile system we currently have, would drop by almost $350 million from last year's level.

So, even though there's an increase overall, there's a decrease in that one operational system. In fact, in response to Senator Nelson's question, you talked about how it had gotten, quote, "tremendously better" the Patriot PAC-3. So, with such an increase in missile defense, why would you want to reduce the funding for the only operational missile system that we have?

MR. WYNNE: The priorities that are made are actually designed by the secretary. I think we will tell you that the PAC-3 missile defense system is also known as MEADS. It is incorporating, I think, new developments for a 360 degree-look radar, some things that we need to essentially slow down and make sure we do take into account, all lessons learned on OAF, and I think the allocation is proper. I think the imminence of the threat has been balanced. And I will say that the Army, I think, is satisfied with the amount of funding that they have right now for PAC-3. I wouldn't say that any program manager worth his salt would be totally satisfied, but I'd have to ask Lieutenant General Dodgen to second the motion.

GEN. DODGEN: Senator, thank you for the question. The reduction, the RDT&E reductions in PAC 3 and Patriot can be explained by the sheer maturity of the program, and the fact that we're moving into more procurement from a standpoint of percentages of the program. And so, we've had a downturn in the Patriot and PAC-3, but MEADS is still flat-lined because we're still in the development of that program.

In addition, we are coming to the end of our procurement of the Config 3 radars of which we did six last year, and we're only doing one this year, and we're procuring 108 factory missiles, which is less than we did last year because of congressional plus up that was added last year, but the 108 is on the track that the Army had planned for, so we are very comfortable with the levels. But, as you said, you can always apply more funding if it's offered.

SEN. PRYOR: Thank you for those responses. I'm glad that you all kind of have gotten me inside the number there, because when you just look at the raw numbers, you know, that question popped out at me.

Secretary Wynne, the Pentagon's budget request for the missile defense program is $1.2 billion more than last year. But when you look at the five-year budget projections for the block 2004 and block 2006 ground-based National Missile Defense Program, it's gone up by almost $6 billion since last year, with most of the costs in FY '06 and '07. The total cost of the program looks like it's doubled in a single year. In any other program that the DOD would have under the normal acquisition rules, like the F-22 for example, such rapid cost growth might trigger a congressional mandated review to determine, you know, what's going on in the program, and why the numbers are increasing so rapidly. So, let me ask you, what is going on in the program, and have you or have you not undertaken any sort of review. And also, lastly, what confidence level do you have that such cost growth will not continue in the program?

MR. WYNNE: Well, there are a lot of questions in there, sir, and I'll take my time and try to answer them all. Number one is, we do review with General Kadish or myself once a week. He has been quite challenged, frankly, in the performance because there has been an increasing, I think, surety of schedule achievement. The test programs, however, that we want him to perform are becoming a little bit more robust than we decided. Frankly, he's had little overruns. He's managed the airborne laser system fairly well. He's taken it upon himself to initiate the cancellation of the RAMOS program that you've heard about and to fund some things from internal funds. So, he is applying financial management.

The requirements that we've laid on him in the 2006 domain have, frankly, continued to increase as we've looked to if the system is effective, then what placeholders should we put out there to make sure that we don't, if you will, don't have the capacity to expand.

On the other hand, I will tell you that next year is going to be another year, and General Kadish and his successor are going to have to defend their budget against all the priorities that come up. They put placeholders in to try to make sure that they, in fact, have a reservation, if you will. The same thing is going to happen with '07. And I commented on the fragility of this program development as well as my confidence in achievement, and I think that's where the placeholding should be I think.

General Kadish, do you have anything further on that?

GEN. KADISH: I'd just like to reemphasize the fact that our RDT&E budget remains relatively stable, but most of the increases you're seeing within the context of Mr. Wynne's comments are for follow-on placeholders for new capability. So, it might look like an increase to the overall execution of the program, but it's more oriented to that effort.

SEN. ALLARD: Thank you, Senator Pryor.

SEN. PRYOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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